Partnerships support kids on autism spectrum

Positive Partnerships is a federally funded program developed to support strong and productive relationships between home and school. It produces evidence-based materials and practical resources, and delivers them nationally through workshops for parents and carers, online learning modules and webinars.

Working directly with schools, Positive Partnerships also provides a range of professional learning programs and resources to assist teachers, school leaders and other education professionals to support students on the autism spectrum in the classroom and other school contexts to create an ‘autism friendly’ school culture.

In May, Positive Partnerships held a workshop in Canberra for parents and carers which was booked to capacity. Some of the topics the trained facilitators covered included:

  • current evidence-based knowledge of autism spectrum disorder and how it directly impacts on a young person’s learning
  • processes and strategies to enable effective partnerships between parents or carers and the school and teacher
  • information and strategies for parents to advocate effectively to support a young person’s learning whilst negotiating the educational environment of which they are a part
  • ways to maximise their young person’s learning in the home environment.

Positive Partnerships Team Leader Renee Christie said “It was fantastic to see so many parents, carers and grandparents in the room together. We worked through the planning matrix in the morning, sharing ideas and strategies across the room. We then looked at the Positive Behaviour Support template, where parents were able to look at the purpose and function of behaviour and the strategies through which to teach replacement behaviours.”

“The afternoon was spent focusing on the elements of a collaborative partnership by looking at what schools and families both bring to the partnership. Parents were able to walk away with an action plan and knowledge about the local support network in their community to help them be the best advocate for their child.”

Positive Partnerships will be running further workshops in the ACT throughout 2017 and 2018. For more information on upcoming workshops and to access resources to support students on the autism spectrum, visit

The templates, matrix worksheet and other materials used at the workshops were greatly appreciated by parents.

For those who are unable to attend a workshop, Positive Partnerships has adapted the materials from the workshops into online learning modules. To access these modules, click the ‘register’ button on their website homepage and follow the prompts until logged on. There is no cost involved in registering or completing any of the online courses.

Positive Partnerships is a national project, funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training through the Helping Children with Autism initiative and is delivered by Autism Spectrum Australia.

This article appeared in ParentACTion, Term 1, 2017.